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Social service agency plans a name change
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Social service agency plans a name change

At the agency’s annual Chai Tea Luncheon to benefit senior services, JFVS executive director Sara Levine, fifth from left, joins members of its Monroe Laurie Advisory Council. The Aug. 13 event, where the agency’s name change was announced, dr
At the agency’s annual Chai Tea Luncheon to benefit senior services, JFVS executive director Sara Levine, fifth from left, joins members of its Monroe Laurie Advisory Council. The Aug. 13 event, where the agency’s name change was announced, dr

Under the belief that less is more, Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County is getting a new name. 

As of Sept. 1, the agency, which served 25,000 clients in 2013, will be known as Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County.

Dropping the “Vocational” from its name is intended to reflect a wider mission and range of activities, officials said.

“As an agency we offer many other services in addition to career and vocational services so it doesn’t seem appropriate anymore,” said executive director Sara Levine. “We have so many multiple services that focusing on just one doesn’t seem right.”

JFVS was formed by the 2006 merger of the Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Northern Middlesex County and the Jewish Family Service of Southern Middlesex County. 

The agency will still offer career services through the Joel Gensler Career Center, while emphasizing family counseling, a speakers’ bureau, kosher food pantry, meals-on-wheels, a Passover food drive, a Women’s Center for women in transition, self-help groups, and a number of senior services, including socialization groups, adult day care, and Holocaust survivor services. 

Its Senior Medicare program educates seniors statewide on how to protect themselves from fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.

One of only a handful of agencies statewide accredited by the federal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to represent immigrants before appeals hearings, it also offers a number of services to legal refugees and immigrants. Its instructive video for new immigrants received 462,000 hits after it was posted on YouTube.

“Over the course of the last year, the board has been talking about how to market the agency more effectively, to let people know who we are,” said Levine. “A lot of people aren’t even aware there is a social service agency in the Jewish community.”

The Monroe office, located in the Concordia Shopping Center, has many programs catering to senior residents of Monroe’s adult communities. 

“I can’t tell you the number of times people who live in Monroe and shop at this shopping center say to me, ‘I didn’t know you had an office here,’” said Levine. “People don’t pay attention to things they’re not involved with or don’t need.”

In the coming months, the agency’s board will roll out the new name and services offered, but the reaction has so far been “very favorable,” said vice president of fund development Jack Goldberg. 

“It’s a new name but the same great services,” he said. “The big message is even through the name has changed everything else stays the same.” 

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